What The Decline Of The ANC Could Mean For South Africa’s Politics

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Written by Staff

By David Iaconangelo – From The Christian Science monitor

With nearly all of the votes counted in South Africa’s municipal elections, the opposition Democratic Alliance appears poised to lose leadership of three major cities, handing the party of the late Nelson Mandela its most significant electoral defeat of the post-apartheid era.

On Friday morning, the BBC reported that the Democratic Alliance had won Nelson Mandela Bay with 46 percent of the vote, and appeared to be locked in a close fight with the African National Congress in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The ANC, which has won over 60 percent of the vote in every election since 1994, will still net the majority of votes cast, getting around 54 percent in localities across the country – well over the Democratic Alliance’s 28 percent.

But the trend toward opposition control in urban hubs of population and industry may signal a watershed moment in the country’s history.

“It is kind of a referendum on the ANC’s rule,” says Sean Jacobs, a Cape Town-born professor of international affairs at The New School, in New York, and founding editor of the blog Africa is a Country. “In this election, all the parties campaigned as national parties, not for Councilor X or Councilor Y. [President Jacob] Zuma was on billboards” for the ANC throughout the country, regardless of who the local candidate was.

Dr. Jacobs tells The Christian Science Monitor that the ANC’s response to the election results might depend on rates of voter turnout, particularly among the party’s traditional bases of support, lower-income and black South Africans.

“If turnout is low, then the ANC can say that black people didn’t come out to vote,” he says. But if turnout was as high as expected, he added, losses may seem particularly worrying for the party of President Mandela, who led the country into the post-apartheid era.

Read more at  The Christian Science monitor